Sunday

24th Mar 2019

Europe bans Bisphenol-A chemical in baby bottles

  • There are fears the compound could affect development and immune response in young children (Photo: wikipedia)

A European ban on baby bottles containing the chemical Bisphenol-A (BPA) will be imposed next year over fears the substance could affect development and immune response in young children.

Experts from EU member states approved the European Commission proposal on Thursday (25 November), several months earlier than expected.

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"The decision taken today is good news for European parents who can be sure that, as of mid-2011, plastic infant feeding bottles will not include BPA," said the EU's health and consumer affairs commissioner, John Dalli.

The chemical - widely used to make hard, clear plastic and frequently found in food and drink containers - has raised concerns for some time, prompting unilateral bans in Canada, France, Denmark and several US states.

In October, Canada became the first country in the world to classify Bisphenol-A as a toxic substance, despite heavy lobbying from the chemical industry against the measure.

The decision by EU member-state experts means the manufacture of feeding bottles containing the compound will now be banned in Europe from March 2011, with their import and sale to be banned from June 2011.

"There were areas of uncertainty, deriving from new studies, which showed that BPA might have an effect on development, immune response and tumour promotion," Mr Dalli said in a statement.

The National Childbirth Trust has campaigned for the ban in Britain.

"When you put liquids into a bottle - particularly hot liquids or liquids containing fatty liquids - it leaches out of the plastic," the group's chief executive Belinda Phipps told the BBC.

"It's a chemical that mimics estrogens, but not in a good way," she added. "It interferes with estrogens getting into the receptors, and it can have some very unpleasant effects - and animal studies have shown significant effects."

European Parliament approval is not required for the new restrictions to go ahead, with MEPs in any case calling for such a ban in June.

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